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First attested circa 14th century, from Old French remors, from Medieval Latin remorsum, from Latin remordeō ‎(I torment, I vex,, literally I bite back) from re- + mordeō ‎(I bite).



remorse ‎(countable and uncountable, plural remorses)

  1. A feeling of regret or sadness for doing wrong or sinning.
    • 2011 December 14, Steven Morris, “Devon woman jailed for 168 days for killing kitten in microwave”[1], Guardian:
      Jailing her on Wednesday, magistrate Liz Clyne told Robins: "You have shown little remorse either for the death of the kitten or the trauma to your former friend Sarah Knutton." She was also banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
    • 1897, Oscar Wilde, "De Profundis,"
      Failure, disgrace, poverty, sorrow, despair, suffering, tears even, the broken words that come from lips in pain, remorse that makes one walk on thorns, conscience that condemns . . . —all these were things of which I was afraid.
  2. (obsolete) Sorrow; pity; compassion.
    • 1597, William Shakespeare, King John, act 4, sc. 3,
      This is the bloodiest shame,
      The wildest savagery, the vilest stroke,
      That ever wall-eyed wrath or staring rage
      Presented to the tears of soft remorse.


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